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Victorian Science and Literature

General Editors: Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman
Volume Editors: Piers J Hale, Jonathan Smith, Suzy Anger, James Paradis, Richard England, Jude V Nixon, David Amigoni and James Elwick; Claire Brock, Marwa Elshakry, Sujit Sivasundaram, Ralph O'Connor, Roger Luckhurst and Justin Sausman; Piers J Hale, Jonathan Smith, Suzy Anger, James Paradis, Richard England, Jude V Nixon, David Amigoni and James Elwick; Claire Brock, Marwa Elshakry, Sujit Sivasundaram, Ralph O'Connor, Roger Luckhurst and Justin Sausman

Part I
4 volume set: 1504pp: 234x156mm: 2011
978 1 84893 091 9: £350/$625
Part II
4 volume set: 1904pp: 234x156mm: 2012
978 1 84893 092 6: £350/$625

'a giddying embarrassment of riches for Victorianist and science and literature scholars alike ... The innovative research directions initiated by the set will likely influence science and literature studies for years to come.'

Review 19

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Leaflet
  • Sample Pages
  • Buy eBook
Building on the success of Literature and Science, 1660–1834 (Pickering & Chatto, 2003–4), this ambitious eight-volume, reset edition in two parts collects rare primary sources on Victorian science, literature and culture.
Science had a fundamental effect on the Victorian world. Previously, ‘science’ was used to refer to knowledge of a quite general kind, but during the nineteenth century science became more formalized as it grew to encompass new and emerging disciplines.

The growing influence of science on Victorian culture can be seen in almost every aspect of life; from industry, urbanization and the spread of imperialism, to religion and the impact of Darwinism. Theories on the natural world, evolution, race and spiritualism entered the public consciousness, contributing to a more scientifically literate society. In turn literature helped to shape the new sciences, with scientific discourses relying heavily on literary precedents. Each volume focuses on an important theme from current scholarship.

The edition begins with an extensive general introduction as well as having introductions at the start of each volume. Headnotes and explanatory annotations also feature throughout. The collection will appeal to all those with an interest in the history of science and literature, as well as social history, empire studies and occultism.
  • Features over two hundred texts
  • Includes rare material by J H Newman, T H Huxley, Michael Faraday, John Ruskin, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Thackeray, Harriet Martineau and Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Large editorial team made up of leading scholars in the field from the UK and North America
  • Full scholarly apparatus, including a general introduction, volume introductions, headnotesand endnotes
  • Consolidated index in the final volume

Part I

General Introduction

Volume 1: Negotiating Boundaries
‘On the Application of the Terms Poetry, Science, and Philosophy’, Monthly Repository (1834); William Whewell, Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences Founded upon their History (1840) [extracts]; Robert Hunt, The Poetry of Science; or, Studies in the Physical Phenomena of Nature (1848) [extract]; George Henry Lewes, Comte’s Philosophy of the Sciences (1857) [extract]; [William Whewell], ‘Spedding’s Complete Edition of the Works of BaconEdinburgh Review (1857) [extract]; John Henry Newman, ‘The Mission of the Benedictine Order’, Atlantis (1858); Hugh Miller, Popular Geology: A Series of Lectures read before the Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh (1859) [extract]; Eneas Sweetland Dallas, The Gay Science (1866) [extracts]; Charles Kingsley, ‘A Charm of Birds’, Fraser’s Magazine (1867); Michael Faraday, ‘Observations on the Education of the Judgment. A Lecture Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain’ (1867) [extract]; Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘Aphorisms by Goethe’, Nature (1869); John Tyndall, ‘On the Scientific Use of the Imagination’, Fragments of Science for Unscientific People (1871); John Ruskin, ‘The Relation to Art of the Sciences of Organic Form’, The Eagle’s Nest (1872); Edward Dowden, ‘The Scientific Movement and Literature’, Contemporary Review (1877); Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘On Science and Art in Relation to Education’ (1882), in Science and Education. Essays by Thomas H Huxley (1893); William Samuel vs Thomas Henry Huxley: Lilly, ‘Materialism and Morality’, Fortnightly Review (1886), Huxley, ‘Science and Morals’, Fortnightly Review (1886), Lilly, ‘The Province of Physics’, Fortnightly Review (1887); Arthur James Balfour, The Foundations of Belief (1895) [extracts]

Volume 2: Victorian Science as Cultural Authority

Science as a Source of Cultural Authority: [William Whewell], Review of John Herschel, Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, from Quarterly Review (1831); Hugh Miller, ‘Stromness and its Asterolepis’ and ‘The Development Hypothesis, and its Consequences’(1851); Herbert Spencer ‘The Social Organism’ (1860), in Essays, Scientific, Political, and Speculative (1891); Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘On the Advisableness of Improving Natural Knowledge’, Collected Essays (1866); John Ruskin, ‘Athena Keramitis’, Athena, Queen of the Air: Being a Study of the Greek Myths or Cloud and Storm (1903) [extracts]; George Henry Lewes, ‘On the Dread and Dislike of Science: A Defense of Science against the Claims of Theology’, Fortnightly Review (1878); Arthur James Balfour, A Defence of Philosophical Doubt, being an Essay on the Foundations of Belief (1879) [extract]; Frances Power Cobbe, ‘The Scientific Spirit of the Age’, The Scientific Spirit of the Age, and other Pleas and Discussions (1888); Karl Pearson, The Grammar of Science (1900); [Mona Caird], The Sanctuary of Mercy (1892) [extract]. Science Lending New Cultural Authority to an Existing Field: Baden Powell, The Connexion of Natural and Divine Truth; or, The Study of the Inductive Philosophy Considered as Subservient to Theology (1838) [extract]; James Cowles Prichard, ‘On the Relations of Ethnology to Other Branches of Knowledge’, Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (1848); Alexander Bain, The Senses and the Intellect (1874) [extracts]; Henry Maudsley, ‘An Address on Medical Psychology’, The British Medical Journal (1872); William Kingdon Clifford, ‘Right and Wrong, the Scientific Ground of their Distinction’, in Lectures and Essays, Leslie Stephen and Frederick Pollock (eds) (1875); Balfour Stewart and Peter Guthrie Tait, The Unseen Universe, or, Physical Speculations on a Future State (1878); Vernon Lee, ‘Apollo the Fiddler: A Chapter on Artistic Anachronism’, Fraser's Magazine (1882); Francis Galton, ‘Measurement of Character’, Fortnightly Review (1884); Havelock Ellis, The Criminal (1916) [extracts]. Pro-Science and Anti-Science Satire or Parody: Punch; or, the London Charivari [extracts]; Benjamin Bendigo, pseud. [William M Thackeray] ‘Science at Cambridge’, Punch (1848); J L, pseud. [John Leech], ‘H R H Field-Marshall Chancellor Prince Albert Taking the Pons Asionorum’, Punch (1848); ‘Unnatural Selection and Improvement of Species. (A Paper Intended to be Read at our Social Science Congress, by One who has been Spending Half-an-Hour or so with Darwin’), Punch (1860); 'Punch's Scientific Register', Punch (1864); Psychosis, Our modern Philosophers: Darwin, Bain and Spencer; or, The Descent of Man, Mind and Body (1884) [extracts]; [William Cosmo Monkhouse], The Automaton: A Comedy in Three Acts [nd] [extracts]; May Kendall, ‘Taking Long Views’ and ‘The Conquering Machine’ Dreams to Sell (1887); May Kendall, ‘Ether Insatiable’, Songs from Dreamland (1894). Worlds that Project (or Contest) the Cultural Authority of Science: Coventry Patmore, ‘The Two Desarts’, The Unknown Eros (1878); [Algernon Charles Swinburne], ‘Disgust: A Dramatic Monologue’, Fortnightly Review (1881); Thomas Hardy, Two on a Tower: A Romance (1883) [extract]; James Clerk Maxwell, ‘To Hermann Stoffkraft, PhD, The Hero of a Recent Work Called "Paradoxical Philosophy". A Paradoxical Ode. [After Shelley]’, in Lewis Campbell and William Garnett, The Life of James Clerk Maxwell… (1884); Grant Allen, ‘The Child of the Phalanstery’, Strange Stories (1884); Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Great Kleinplatz Experiment’, Belgravia: A London Magazine (1885); Israel Zangwill, ‘The Memory Clearing House’, Idler: an illustrated monthly (1892)

Volume 3: Science, Religion and Natural Theology

On The Divine Economy Of Nature: William Buckland, Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology (1837) [extracts]; Baden Powell, The Connexion between Natural and Divine Truth (1838) [extract]; Samuel Brown, ‘The Argument of Design Equal to Nothing, or Nieuentyt and Paley vs. David Hume and St. Paul’ in Lectures on Atomic Theory and Essays Scientific and Literary (1858); Edward Forbes, History of British Starfishes (1841) [extracts]; Frank Buckland, Curiosities of Natural History (1859) [extract]; Henry Crosskey, The Method of Creation (1889) [extracts]. Cosmic Considerations: Richard Proctor, Other Worlds Than Ours (1871) [extracts]; James Prescott Joule, ‘On Matter, Living Force, and Heat’, in The Scientific Papers of James Prescott Joule (1847); John Tyndall, Heat Considered as a Mode of Motion (1863) [extracts]; Thomas Huxley, ‘The Physical Basis of Life’ Fortnightly Review (1868); James Iverach, Christianity and Evolution (1894) [extract]. Redesigning Darwin: F Max Müller, The Science of Language (1891) [extracts]; F Max Müller, 'Lectures on Mr Darwin's Philosophy of Language: Second Lecture' (1873); Henry Acland, The Harveian Oration (1865) [extract]; Duke of Argyll [G D Campbell], The Reign of Law (1867) [extracts]; Charles Kingsley, ‘The Natural Theology of the Future’, Macmillan’s Magazine (1871); George Henry Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind: First Series: The Foundations of a Creed (1874–5) [extracts]; George Henry Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind, Second Series: The Physical Basis of Mind (1877) [extract]; Joseph Parker, Job’s Comforters, or Scientific Sympathy (1876) [extract]. God And Nature: Knowing, Feeling: David Moir, 'Hymn to Hesperus' and 'Starlight Reflections' from The Poetical Works of David Macbeth Moir, Thomas Aird (ed) (1852); Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'Nondum' (1866) and ‘God’s Grandeur’, (1877); John Henry Newman, ‘Desolation’ (1868); Arthur Grey Butler, ‘In the Beginning’ (1892); George Romanes, ‘Charles Darwin – A Memorial Poem’, ‘The Drama of Life’ and ‘Natural Theology’ (1896)

Volume 4: The Evolutionary Epic

Before Darwin: The Cosmos, Geology, Fossils, Language, Imagination: John Pringle Nichol, The Architecture of the Heavens (1850) [extracts]; Hugh Miller, Sketch-Book of Popular Geology (1859) [extract]; [Hensleigh Wedgwood], ‘Grimm's Deutche Grammatik’, Quarterly Review (1833); Richard Owen, Palæontology: A Systematic Study of Extinct Animals and the Geological Relations (1861) [extracts]. The Development Hypothesis: New Directions: [Herbert Spencer], ‘The Development Hypothesis’, The Leader (1852); [Edmund Saul Dixon], ‘A Vision of Animal Existences’, Cornhill Magazine (1862); William Winwood Reade, The Martyrdom of Man (1872) [extracts]; Edward Clodd, The Story of Creation: A Plain Account of Evolution (1901) [extracts]. Late Century Developments and Debates: Evolution as Knowledge, Degeneration, Empire, Gender and Mutuality: Thomas Henry Huxley, Review of Ernst Haeckel, Anthropogenie (1875); [Grant Allen], ‘Evolution’, Cornhill Magazine (1888); Edwin Ray Lankester, ‘Degeneration: a chapter in Darwinism’, (1880) [extracts]; Benjamin Kidd, Social Evolution (1888) [extract]; Edwin Ray Lankester, Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism (1880); Benjamin Kidd, Social Evolution (1894) [extract]; Eliza Burt Gamble, The Evolution of Woman: An Inquiry into the Dogma of her Inferiority to Man (1894) [extracts]; Peter Kropotkin, ‘Mutual Aid amongst Modern Men’, The Nineteenth Century (1896)

Part II

Volume 5: New Audiences for Science: Women, Children, Labourers

Thomas Twining, Science Made Easy (1876)

Women: Mary Roberts, The Wonders of the Vegetable Kingdom Displayed, 2nd edn (1824); ‘M S R’, ‘The Englishwoman in London: I: Dr Elisabeth Blackwell’ (1859); ‘M S R’, ‘The Englishwoman in London: VII: The Sanitary Movement’ (1859); Lydia Ernestine Becker, ‘On the Study of Science by Women’ (1869); Richard Anthony Proctor, ‘Mrs Somerville’ (1871); Henry Maudsley vs Elizabeth Garrett Anderson: Henry Maudsley, ‘Sex in Mind and Education’ (1874); Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, 'Sex in Mind and Education: A Reply' (1874); John Law [Margaret E Harkness], A City Girl: A Realistic Story (1887); Sophia Jex-Blake, ‘Medical Women in Fiction’ (1893)

Children: Thomas C Girton (ed), The House I Live In (1837); Henry Mayhew, The Wonders of Science (1858); John Henry Pepper, 'Aerostation' (1861); [H Frederick Charles], ‘Some Boys who became Famous: The Errand-Boy of Jacob’s Well Mews [Michael Faraday]’ (1879); Sir Robert Stawell Ball, 'A Juvenile Lecture at the Royal Institution' frontispiece and 'Lecture VI: Stars' (1889; 1890); S F A Caulfeild, ‘Women and Girls as Inventors, and Discoverers: Part I’, The Girl’s Own Paper (1894); ‘Women and Girls as Inventors, and Discoverers: Part II’, The Girls’ Own Paper (1895); Florence Sophie Davson, ‘Women’s Work in Sanitation and Hygiene’, The Girls’ Own Paper (1899)

Labourers: Henry Brougham, A Discourse of the Objects (1827); Alfred Smith, An Introductory Lecture on the Past and Present State of Science (1831); ‘Introduction’, Popular Science Review (1862); Edward Aveling, Darwinism and Small Families (1882); Arthur Ransome, On Some Dangers Connected with Dwellings and How to Avoid Them (1883); John Sibbald, Work and Rest (1884); Alfred Russel Wallace, Vaccination a Delusion, its Penal Enforcement a Crime (1898); Roger Langdon, The Life of Roger Langdon (1909)

Volume 6: Science, Race, and Imperialism

Travel and Exploration: Jehangir Naoroji and Hirjibhoy Meherwanji, Journal of a Residence of Two Years and a Half in Great Britain (1841); George Biddell Airy, ‘Astronomy’ (1849); Joseph Dalton Hooker, Himalayan Journals (1854); Paul Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa (1861); Nasir al-Din Shah, The Diary of H M The Shah of Persia during his Tour in Europe in AD 1873 (1874); Francis Galton, Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South Africa (1889); ‘Lady Astronomer’ [Elizabeth Brown], Caught in the Tropics (1891)

Exhibiting and Collecting: Andrew Smith, 'Introductory Remarks' and 'A Description of Birds Inhabiting the South of Africa' (1830); The Industry of Nations as Exemplified in the Great Exhibition of 1851 (1852); John Conolly, The Ethnological Exhibitions of London (1855); Trailokya Nath Mukharji, A Visit to Europe (1889); William Fawcett, 'The Public Gardens and Plantations of Jamaica' (1897)

Natural Theologies: John Williams, A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Seas (1837); Alexander Wylie, 'Brief Introduction' to the Shanghae Serial (1857); Henry Baker Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible (1867)

Race and the Human Sciences: John Crawfurd, ‘On the Malayan and Polynesian Languages and Races’ (1848); James Hunt, ‘The Negro’s Place in Nature’ (1863); Report on Charles Staniland Wake, 'Psychological Unity of Mankind' (1868); Jones Henry Lamprey, 'On a Method of Measuring the Human Form for the Use of Students in Ethnology' (1869); Thomas H Huxley, ‘On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Man’ (1870); T G B Lloyd, 'On the "Beothucs", a Tribe of Red Indians, Supposed to be Extinct, Which Formerly Inhabited Newfoundland' (1875); Edward Tregear, The Aryan Maori (1885); Isaac Taylor, Origin of the Aryans (1890); Harry Johnston, ‘The Empire and Anthropology’ (1909)

Imperial Technologies and the Sciences of Governance: 'Construction of a Road from Colombo to Kandy', Anonymous Ballad from Sri Lanka, palm-leaf manuscript ([c.1825]); Robert Schomburgk, Twelve Views in the Interior of Guiana (1841); Roderick Murchison, ‘Address to the Royal Geographical Society of London’ (1852); Abdul Latif Khan Bahadur, A Discourse on the Nature, Objects, and Advantages of the Periodical Census (1865); J Clerk, ‘Suez Canal’ (1869); John Augustus Voelcker, Report on the Improvement of Indian Agriculture (1893); John Henniker Heaton, ‘An Imperial Telegraph System’ (1899)

Science, Nationalism and Anti-Colonialism: Mahendralal Sarkar, ‘On the Desirability of Cultivation of the Sciences by the Natives of India’ (1869); James Hector, ‘On Recent Moa Remains in New Zealand’ (1871); 'Introduction' to al-Muqtataf (1876); ‘India’s Gift to the World’ (1895); Charles Metcalfe, 'Presidential Adrress' (1903); Edward W Blyden, Africa and the Africans (1903); Bal Gangadhar Tilak, ‘Bharata Dharma Mahamandala’ (1906)

Volume 7: Science as Romance

Critical Reflections: Anon., [Review of Hugh Miller’s] 'The Old Red Sandstone’ (1841–2); [Charles Dickens], [Review of Robert Hunt’s] 'The Poetry of Science’ (1848); William Wilson, A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject (1851)

Familiar Didactic Exposition: Charles Kingsley, Glaucus (1855); John Cargill Brough, The Fairy Tales of Science (1859); Arabella Buckley, The Fairy-Land of Science (1878); John Gordon McPherson, The Fairyland Tales of Science (1891); Henry Hutchinson, Prehistoric Man and Beast (1896)

Heroic Autobiography: Thomas Hawkins, Memoirs of Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri (1834)

The Voices of Nature: Mary Roberts, Voices from the Woodlands (1850); [Richard H Horne], The Poor Artist; or, Seven Eye-Sights and One Object (1850); John Mill, The Fossil Spirit (1854); Frank Constable, The Curse of Intellect (1895)

Scientific Fairytales: ‘Acheta Domestica’ [L M Budgen], Episodes of Insect Life, 1st series (1849); [Henry Morley], ‘The Water-Drops: A Fairy Tale’ (1850); Albert and George Gresswell, The Wonderland of Evolution [1884]

Visions: Gideon Mantell, Wonders of Geology (1838); Horace Smith, ‘A Vision’ (1838); Robert Hunt, Panthea, a Spirit of Nature (1849); 'ALOE' [C M Tucker], Fairy Frisket; or, Peeps at Insect Life (1874)

Fantastic Voyages: Agnes Catlow, Drops of Water: Their Marvellous and Beautiful Inhabitants (1851); Hugh Miller, Sketch-Book of Modern Geology (1859); Richard Proctor, ‘A Voyage to the Ringed Planet’ (1872); 'Chrysostom Trueman', The History of a Voyage to the Moon (1864)

Romancing the Future: Technological Utopia: [W T Stead], ‘Looking Forward: A Romance of the Electric Age’ (1890)

Songs of Scientific Courtship: Robert More, 'The Scientific Man; or, Mrs Crucible's Lamentation' [1843]; Edward Forbes, ‘A Naturalist’s Valentine’ [1845]; Constance Naden, ‘Scientific Wooing’ and ‘Love versus Learning’ (1887); Arnold Beresford, ‘Botany (The Professor’s Love-Story)’ (1909)

Volume 8: Marginal and Occult Sciences

Phrenology: John Yelloly, ‘A Letter from Charles Villiers to George Cuvier’ (1802); John Spurzheim, 'Dr Spurzheim's Lectures on Physiognomy and the Physiology of the Brain' (1814–15); George Combe, Elements of Phrenology (1824); [Daniel Noble], True and False Phrenology (1840); George Henry Lewes, ‘Eighth Epoch: Psychology Finally Recognized as a Branch of Biology – the Phrenological Hypothesis’ (1867)

Mesmerism: ‘University College Hospital: Abstract of a Clinical Lecture by Dr Elliotson, on remarkable Cases of Sleep Waking, and on the Effects of Animal Magnetism on Patients with Nervous Affections’, Lancet (1837); ‘University College Hospital: Animal Magnetism’, Lancet (1838); Harriet Martineau ‘On Mesmerism’ (1844); 'Prospectus', Zoist (1843); Edmund Gurney, ‘The Stages of Hypnotism’ (1884)

Spiritualism: Robert Dale Owen, Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1860); John Tyndall, ‘Science and the Spirits’ (1864), from Fragments of Science (1872); Rev. Charles Maurice Davies, ‘A Shilling Séance’, in Unorthodox London (1873); William Henry Harrison, ‘Spiritualism’ (1873); Alfred Russel Wallace, ‘A Defence of Modern Spiritualism’ (1874); ‘The Spiritualists at Bow Street’ (1876); Jean-Martin Charcot, ‘Spiritualism and Hysteria’ (1889)

Psychical Research: Edward Cox, The Province of Psychology (1875); Society for Psychical Research, ‘Objects of the Society’ (1882); Society for Psychical Research, ‘Report of the Literary Committee’ (1882); Frederic W H Myers, Science and A Future Life (1893); Sir William F Barrett, ‘Psychical Research’ (1891); ‘Spookical Research’ (1886)

Occultism: Annie Besant, Why I became a Theosophist (1891); William Thomas Stead, ‘How We Intend to Study Borderland’ (1893); Arthur Edward Waite, 'In the Beginning' and 'The Threefold Division of Mysticism' (1894); Arthur Edward Waite, 'What is Alchemy?' (1894); Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual (1896); William James, ‘A Suggestion about Mysticism’ (1910)

Fantastic Topographies: Flat Earth: ‘Parallax’ [Samuel Birley Rowbotham], Zetetic Astronomy (1865; 1873); ‘Common Sense’ [William Carpenter], Theoretical Astronomy Examined and Exposed (1864–6). The Fourth Dimension: Johann C F Zöllner, 'On Space of Four Dimensions' (1878); 'I Awoke!': Conditions of Life on the Other Side Communicated by Automatic Writing (1895); Charles Howard Hinton, What is the Fourth Dimension? (1897). Hollow Earth and Lost Worlds: Symmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres, Demonstrating that the Earth is Hollow, Habitable Within, and Widely Open about the Poles (1826); Ignatius Donnelly, ‘The Purpose of this Book’, in Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882); William Scott-Elliott, ‘Description of Lemurian Man’ (1904)

  • 'a giddying embarrassment of riches for Victorianist and science and literature scholars alike ... The innovative research directions initiated by the set will likely influence science and literature studies for years to come.'

    Review 19

  • 'The editors have wisely focused on texts that are difficult to find. Each volume features an introduction that maps out the landscape within which the readings serve as markers. Highly recommended.'


  • 'these eight volumes are an immense treasure trove for explorers in the field of Victorian literature and science to delight in and exploit.'

    The British Society for Literature and Science

  • 'a giddying embarrassment of riches for Victorianist and science and literature scholars alike ... The innovative research directions initiated by the set will likely influence science and literature studies for years to come.'

    Review 19

This title is now available to buy from ebrary:

ISBNs: 9781848930919 978-1-84893-091-9 ISBNs: 9781848930926 978-1-84893-092-6 ISBNs: 9781781446812 978-1-78144-681-2 ISBNs: 9781781446829 978-1-78144-682-9

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